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March 25, 2008

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Strange Tales from the Guide Side

Sometimes, seeing is believing, and the river guide has just about seen it all.

My top 10 favorite "strange but true" guide experiences:

10. The guy who pays for his $350 guide trip with a wad of $1 bills, peeling each off and counting, one-by-one.
9. "Wow, that's a beautiful fish Mrs. Smith caught, Mr. Smith; want me to take a photo with your camera?" "No photos ... that's not Mrs. Smith."
8. "How do you get these things on again?" the guy asks as he sits on a bench in the shop (in his underwear), wading boots laced up, trying to stuff his feet down the Gore-Tex wader pant legs.
7. "I'd like to return this rod, it doesn't work," the man says, explaining his $650 refund is due because it must be a defective product (and not the fact that he has the motor skills of a three-year old) that keeps him from casting more than 14 feet.
6. The guy who complains because he cannot fit the tip of his WF5F fly line through the eye of a size #20 blue-winged olive.
5. The woman who insists on wearing stiletto heels in the drift boat, because they help her see better with a "taller" point of view (then sinks ankle-deep in muck at the pull-out).
4. The guy who proudly shows off the "killer fly" he bought at the shop yesterday (a Royal Wulff), ties it on, greases it, and then proceeds to pinch on three Water Gremlin split shots, three inches above the fly.
3. The guy who burns a permanent scar on his $2000 bamboo rod by holding it too close to his stogie as he fights a 12-inch brown.
2. The lady who excitedly unspools her entire fly line and 30 yards of backing by reeling, backwards, after a trout inhales her grasshopper fly.
1. The guide who pins his raft on a boulder in heavy current, and brushes the episode off by saying, "Let's fish here ... try that seam over there."

I know some of you folks have other winners ... share with us, please!

***UPDATE We'll give a Loomis Xperience 9-foot 5-weight rod (retail $285) to the best, believable, strange but true tale from the guide side described in the comments below. We'll pick April Fool's day.



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tim romano


you're full of it. I'll buy half of them.


Any guide who does 50 days or more on the river in a season will believe me ... and tell you better, funnier stories. In fact ... should we give a "spare" rod away to the best guide story (that we believe)? I think so. Another Loomis Xperience rod for the best "strange bug true" from the guide side.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

lOL I GOT THE ONLY ONE ROD I NEED ...The same one but for christmas (thanks Deeter).

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Also... the one dollar bill one i beleve as if you hated the trip do it to piss off the guide lol.

Chad Miller

I am going to speak for one of my guides, Eric Corya. Eric does our L. Michigan Carp trips and on a trip last year had a customer who was, well we do know what he was thinking. Take off all his clothes and go skinny dipping. No warning no consideration of the fish, just naked and wet. Not a pretty site. The fish didn't seem to mind they caught several fish.

Evan V

Well I have seen number 8 in bass pro shops once, I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help myself.

Chad Miller

One more from the waters of Indiana. I have many but this one sticks out. I was guiding the Tippecanoe River on a July Sunday. Sugar was blown out and I had a customer who had come in from California, so we had to salvage a trip so we went to the Tippy. Sundays on the Tippy is a mess of tubers and canoes, hundreds of them. Well anyway my 78 year old client decides he has to take a dump and I need to pull over immediately. I think you get to a certain age and you stop carring what anyone think because he simply walks up to the bank drops his drawers and takes a dump in plain sight of the dozens of canoers going by. It doesn't end there. He is older and has trouble getting around so of course as he is getting up from his squat he falls down and can't get up. His son in the back doesn't see that he is fallen so I feel a responsibility as the guide to help my client. So I get out of the boat and walk up to him and get behind him to lift him off the ground. So here I am with another pack of canoes going by with a client with his pants down and me behind him holding him up. As the canoes went by I was only left to say. "How ya doin". Couldn't think of anything else to say. It didn't look good, though I was more than happy to help him. Now everytime I go by that spot I get a good story for other clients out of it.


When preparing gear for a trip I was asked by a friends girlfriend if I was going to be catching flies. Apparently she was taking "fly fishing" quite literally.


What a great way to start the season off. What will 2008 bring to us? Only time will tell. Timmy the top ten list is true - you will never cease to be amazed at what will happen from one day to the next.


Thank God for no blood hungry fish in the South Platte. I had an older gentleman out a couple years back in the fall. He showed up with a wading staff and said, "we can't forget this."

Great - this means swimming by someone, tangled line around the staff, punctured waders, and just a quagmire waiting to occur.

We started up the path and then crossed in the low section of the river. He kept up fairly well. As soon as the water touched the boots out came the staff. The water was not even over the top of the boots, and we were punching in the staff for every step along the way. What would normally take maybe a minute in high flow was now several minutes.

We made it across and found our first spot. I tried to get the rod from him to get down, but was told no thanks. As he started down the bank - BAM!!! Wading staff is caught and released like a missile into the client and ass over tea kettle he goes. I race down into the river to grab him, pick him up and grab the rod.

Somewhere during the non-gymnastic flip the rigged flies found there way into the clients hand. I get him cleaned up and bandaged, but it was still gushing good. I took out some athletic tape to help secure the bandage more.

We get into a few fish and suggest to move. I get the rod and help him up, and look at his hand to see the bandage and white tape is no longer white.

I stop him to look at the cut again, but he insists he is fine.

We go along a little bit more and have a good day hooking regularly along the way. We are getting close to lunch, and are hunkered down into a fast moving section. He manages to hook into a monster and it just rules his world. I am off to the races, and get below the fish as it start to move back up. As I am moving up, and getting closer to the client I forget about the damn staff - PUNCTURE TO GUIDE'S WADERS!!!

Nice time to have hot feet in October in Colorado. As time goes on, I find myself keeping the hole above the water until he latches into more fish.

Life goes on - break for lunch. After lunch we get into a nice slow moving stretch that is great for dry-dropper rigs. Even though I just pointed out the pine trees behind him, he gets up the power to start a double-haul right square into the pine tree. I told him to stay there, and was able to pull down on the branch to release our post-lunch mess.

He screams back - are we ok as I am holding the rig. Before I knew it - the forward cast of the double-haul started and clearly imbedded the hooks. Before I could even say stop he tried again, driving the hooks deeper.

I remove the hooks and bandage my hand up. The rest of the afternoon was smooth until the end. We are in the final spot and he is just on fire. I feel safe slightly off his upstream shoulder.

I am looking around thinking that the day is almost done, and then I peer down onto the client to see him decide to try to double-haul a nymph rig down stream.

In true reaction mode - I decided to turn and lower myself thinking I don't need another set of hooks embedded into flesh, but I slipped and took a bob in the river.

The end of the day tally came:

One client wet from wading staff missile.

One client bandaged twice and bloody all morning.

One guide bandaged and bloodied from pine tree snag.

One punctured pair of guide waders.

One guide hitting the river to avoid another flesh wound.

Many fish hooked and landed on a bright Colorado fall - PRICELESS.

The best was removing my waders and the water I lugged around. Re-bandaging the client before he returned home. Even though this may have been a comedy of errors, the tip at the end of the day was rewarding.

Chad Love

My Gawd you give away a lot of stuff over here.
The Gun Nut needs to take a cue from you guys. We get zip over there except grief. I'm beginning to think he's a miserly tight ass...
I'm not a guide, but can't I just make something up?


Chad - A good fly fishing guide will relinquish certain aspects and give you insight into our world on occasion. One of the many fun parts of guiding is being able to share these tales with each other.

Scott G

same customer as chad different day, cant get out of boat to pee so he brings a peanut butter jar and stands in the raft behind me and I can feel the overspray on the back of my arms...nice... I think hes peed on chad too!!! they are very close...

David Altmaier

Let me preface this by saying I am not a guide, and we weren't fly fishing at this particular time, but I did take a friend fishing for Stripers on Lake Cumberland (KY) once. Nothing was biting, so I went to bed. My persistant friend decided to stay up and continue trying his luck. He wakes me up a few hours later, frantic.

"Dave! Dave! I got one!" I roll over and see that he has in fact hooked a small baby striper.

"Why did you wake me up for that?" I inquire.

"I need you to take it off the hook."

Scott Linden

How about the "client" who complained because his guide had put mayonnaise on the top and bottom (both sides) inside of his sandwich?


Me: Where are we going to fish today?
Guide: Al's land
Me: ok
we get to "our" spot
and al's land the guide jokingly tells me (when I notice the sign) is ALL POSTED's land

Evan V

Not a guide, but I once saw a guy almost tip over the side of his 12 foot boat by side casting under a tree. He got a good amount of water in before he pulled back in.
And deeter, got the fly line. Went out and got a new reel to fit it in, thanks!

Bill Cason


How about when I wouldn't get out at the end of the day even if there was lightning and thunder. So you and Kerry just stand on the bridge at Long Meadow and wonder if I'm fish crazy? I am of course.

BTW: I'd like to get on your calendar this year. Need ya email.



Ah yes ... "electric Bill" ... hit me at [email protected] ... look forward to fishing. KD


Two highlights:

I had two Japanse clients doing a float trip one summer with us. Around miday we round a bend there is a moose feeding in a quite eddy.The following conversation goes like this:
Guide: "Look guys a moose"!
Client: "What is moose"?
Guide:"It's a member of the deer family. Only much bigger".
Client: "Look like horse"."You sure it not horse"?
Guide: "No it's not a horse it's a moose".
Client: "Why horse head under water"?
Guide: "It's moose and it's eating aquatic plants".
Moose lifts his head up from the water and shows off a good rack.
Client: "Horse has horns"!!"Ugly horse".
Many photos are taken of the ugly underwater eating horse.
I wonder what the slide show was like back home?

I had a gentleman who was 90 years old who came equiped with an automatic reel.He had poor eyesite and was nearly deaf. We get into a hatch of BWOs and I am tying a dry onto his leader. His partner(who I refer to as "the kid". He's only 80) is in the back casting to a rising fish. I'm watching the drift out of the corner of my eye when I see the dry go down. I say (a bit to loud) "Strike"! The ninety year old presses the automatic reel lever and drives the dry into both my thumb and index finger. The Kid nails the fish the ninety year old nails me and we get a triple on the score board.

This is one of the many reasons I love to guide. I can't think of a better proffesion.


Now that's funny ...

Kenny Adcock

Very, Very, funny!!!

Alyssa Adcock

That is so funny!! why would she think that?!

Tyler P

Early season Alaska on the copper river out of Iliamna. 16ft Skiff 40hp Yamaha and 5 dudes....1 dog..5 cases of beer.. and 6 gear bags...large cooler full of food. Can you say "overloaded", with my fine piloting skills we managed to get up river and fish some of the more prominent gravel bars and seams for rainbows. Hence 5 guys who can fish really well and are repeat customers you need to spread them out a little bit. It started to rain and just after the last two guys hit their beach I put one leg up on the rear brace..A) too get a better view of the river; or B) I thought I looked cool ? Foot slipped I tried to get my balance..left throttle hand slipped..elbow hit throttle..TYLER does a gainer off the back off the boat !! While in air I said" Oh [email protected]%! and oh oh [email protected]#!...I am stuck in middle of river swimming with the current in full SIMMS wader gear..boat heading downstream with clients gear...dudes 1000K pointing lab pup, and all I could do was watch. Swam to shore and boat by the grace of god eddied out on my side 50 yds down from me.....Ran down the bank got in the boat, raced back upstream and "Said, don't do that at home, I am a trained professional". The coolest clients in the world..all had a fly rod in one hand and a RAINIER in the other raised to salute me..The senior gent Phillip, said "Tyler my ghillie, now that was the funniest [email protected]#! i have ever seen...now get me a beer and one for yourself"


Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Ok so when i was 10 my grandpa took me up to canada. of course the men all drank themselves crazy...and had no respect for my grandpas beer so they drank it.
So we got the guide to get them to throw a case of beer on the plane that was bringing up more minnows. When the pilot lands i go with my grandpa to go get his beer and the pilot hands him a 30 pack of beer and says "heres the bill" we look at it and say "this beer must be made out of gold and perals its 300 dollars!!!" The pilot looks at us and simply says "that beer travled on a long trip (250 miles short of the north pole to be exact)On a few planes." My granpa looks at him square in the eye with not a look on his face and says "take it back."

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